Julie with a B

Saturday, July 30, 2005
Define fuel efficient
Solo in a Hybrid? Motorists who drive solo in fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles will gain access to carpool lanes in California under a massive transportation bill approved by Congress on Friday that includes billions of dollars for projects statewide.
The $286.5-billion bill, the first major transportation funding measure since 1998, cleared the House and Senate by large bipartisan votes. California will receive roughly $23 billion for highway projects — a return of about 92 cents for every dollar in gas taxes the state sends to Washington.
The California law, which expires in 2008, grants carpool access to hybrids that are the cleanest running in their class and get at least 45 miles to the gallon. Smaller hybrids such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight qualify, while larger SUV models might not.

So good so far.... But wait!
"You can have one person in a hybrid and two people in a regular car that gets 30 miles per gallon, and essentially they have the same fuel efficiency," Halcomb said. "In many cases, this kind of law is a knee-jerk reaction to give the appearance of greenness. But you're no better off than driving a regular economy car."

Ah, well, helps to do the numbers right? So lets follow the money. The state gives the Feds $1.00 and gets back $.92. Nope not there. So where is it?
At the Toyota dealership in Glendale, salesman Jesse Rivas was thrilled that the new law was passed, saying it would spur even more sales of the fast-selling Prius, which is officially rated at 60 miles per gallon on city streets, though actual fuel mileage is generally lower. The popular electric-gas cars range from $22,000 to $26,000.


"We've all been waiting for this," Rivas said. "With gas and the economy the way it is, people want a break."

I think I know where the money is.

For now, I'll stick with my Toyota "Crawla" - it gets 35 mpg and cost $6,000 used 6 years ago.


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